By Ese Erheriene and Stephanie Yang
Gold prices soared on Friday, after Britain’s decision to leave the European Union sent investors flooding into safe-haven assets.
Gold for August delivery was recently up 5% at $1,326.20 in electronic trading on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. Gold prices spiked as high as $1,362.60 on Thursday night, hitting the highest level since March 2014.
The sharp move in gold followed a shift in expectations for the U.K. referendum outcome, after traders spent the past week betting that Britain would vote to stay in the EU. Friday’s gains broke a five-day losing streak that had taken gold to a two-week low.
“As soon as the market got a hint that it could tilt the other way is when this volatility kicked in,” said Bob Haberkorn, senior market strategist at RJO Futures.
A British exit, or “Brexit” has increased demand for safe assets in the face of economic and political uncertainty. Analysts have noted that a Brexit may also decrease the likelihood of the Federal Reserve raising interest rates in the coming months, which would support gold prices.
“I can’t think of a negative for gold,” Mr. Haberkorn said. “The bulls are fully in control at this point.”
When gold dealer Mark O’Byrne entered his Dublin office two hours early on Friday morning, the phones were already ringing.
Bullion dealer GoldCore opened its doors at 7 a.m. in anticipation of anxious investors looking to hedge against financial uncertainty following the U.K.’s vote to exit the European Union after 43 years.
In one instance, Mr. Byrne had to calm an elderly customer who, fearing economic collapse, asked if she could invest all of her life’s savings in gold, despite the recommended investment level of 15%.
“We are very busy,” Mr. Byrne said. “Investors are worried about the outlook now for the U.K. economy. “
Gold soared to an almost two-year high in London after the referendum result was announced, breaching the psychologically significant level of...